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Steam engine #250 celebrates a milestone


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Chances are you've probably seen the big train that sits outside the Coastline Convention Center in downtown Wilmington. It's a steam engine train and today was its 100th birthday.

About 100 or so people gathered at the Wilmington Railroad Museum for an ice cream social of sorts in celebration of the milestone birthday of steam engine number 250. From what we hear it's a pretty tough machine.

"Engine 250 was delivered here and was a real workhorse engine and a very popular style for the times," said Wilmington Railroad Museum director Mark Koenig. "For a good portion of it's life it pulled trains between here and Fayetteville."

The port city has a very rich railroad history; and steam engines are part of it.

"Railroads in North Carolina began in Wilmington in 1834 and the rail network expanded throughout the years eventually consolidating again in 1900 under the name Atlantic Coast Line Railroad," Koenig said.

Kirk Benning gives tours of the undercarriage of the steam engine. He say's he is excited to be a part of this special celebration.

"It's hard to believe something like this existed 100 years ago steam propulsion is still being used today major ships and stuff are still steam propulsion so it's still relevant." Benning said.

Organizers say they hope engine 250 remains on track for another 100 years.

Mark Koenig added that the best thing about engine 250 is its longevity. He says there aren't many steam engines left so it's good to have one right here in Wilmington.

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